Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pictures from Josh!

October 25, 2010


Thank you so much for the email you sent this week! I'm just getting done uploading a TON of pictures for you! So I hope you're excited! I'm glad that you got back from Mexico safely! When the Hurricane Juan hit we were actually on a boat traveling to Mindoro from Manila...after saying a prayer and securing two life vests for my companion and I...I read a book while the boat hopped around on the angry ocean. I know with out a doubt that the Lord was with us that night. Other than that we've been working hard here in Calapan. We found 37 new investigators today and I've been just tracting like a maniac! Every person and house I see I try to see if they'll let us in to share a message! I feel really good about this week. We had a baptism last Saturday. It was Jay Anne. She's a 16 year old girl who lives with members in Calapan she's way awesome and has a good testimony of the work...it was a great experience. I'm really learning the importance of humility here in Calapan..haha especially when we tracted into a JOE or aka a white person who isn't filipino. Elder Etcitty tracted in english and said "Hey morning, we're missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ we we'd like to meet you" To which this old man who I thought had no idea what tagalog was...responded in fluent tagalog with an accent that put mine to shame...he responded..."thats okay, I'm actually a pastor here and I am not interested in anything you have to say" so we got brave or prideful and kept talking...by talking I mean he was in his garage and didn't even come to the gate while I yelled to keep up the conversation to carry it to his ears. I said ..."Hey it's pretty good you know tagalog...where are you from?" To which he replied "Taga rito na ako" or I'm from here now...? haha unfortunately our conversation ended...but man I wanted to know about this guy..he had really good tagalog and had to be atleast in his 70's haha. I realized how much I suck at English now. I constantly throw tagalog words in and when i speak to other people besides missionaries I kind of have a hard time, i can't say things how I used to...I guess it's all practice...Other than that the whole ZL thing in Mindoro is AMAZING! But I am so exhausted of driving...we've just had to drive drive drive this week and it's so tiring...I did the math...which is simple because it's 2 + 2...but I basically drive to flagstaff and back everyday in the ammount of time it takes...I think if Zach's reading this he's thinking about Brandy and how he can keep seeing her ahah. But I absolutely love it! This week is going to be excited! we get to go back to all the people we tracted and see if they give us the time of day again...I met a lady from CA here, a filipina...she loved us! and I got a dinner appointment and a place to celebrate new years! haha This week has beeeen SOOOO good to me! I absolutely love it! I love you guys more though! So this week will be a bit crazy. Tonight we have to probably take the Baco elders home...an hour drive...or do it tomorrow and then tomorrow we gotta get the car wash and make a work shop, because president anderson is coming to the Island tomorrow for Zone Meeting and Elder Etcitty and I are teaching the Zone! aaahh! better be good! Then on Sunday we have to gather all the Elders going to the training meeting, and monday we have to leave to Lipa for a 4 day training meeting...but that means we have to go friday to buy tickets and i have to find a place to buy a new tire...yeah we got a flat today! and elder perry and I changed it on the side of the road!!! You'd be so PROUD! I even crawled under the thing to jack it up! then we all gotta get to Lipa before 6 on monday because there is a curfew...then it's my birthday! and I'll be in training meetings all day in San Pablo! haha my life is crazy but I love it because i've concencrated everything to the Lord! I am having the time of my life and more and more everyday I realize everything i'm doing all the lessons i'm learning will bless me forever...i LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! even though I am WAY far away...i feel like i'm a completely better and new person! I lvoe you guys sooo much and miss you too much...but in 9 months you'll hear my voice, touch my cheek, smell my foul body odor, and perhaps see me exercise..

I love you so much!!!

your eternal son,


Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010


So thanks for the chastisement in the begining of the letter haha. I've just been really distracted lately. But now not only am I distracted! I'm way busy! So contrary to popular believe. My new area is not Batangas city...it is Calapan Mindoro! I cannot even begin to describe how incredible beautiful this island is. It's amazing! What's even better is....President was "Foolish"? enough to give me a car! It's actually not a car...it's a brand new Ford Ranger doesn't even have 6,000 miles on it! My new companion is from ARIZONA He's Elder Etcitty...and right now in Mindoro there are 4 people from ARIZONA! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! Haha almost everyone here is American! Elder Etcitty and I are the Zone Leaders here so we get to work and hang out with every buddy...and I'm the only one with a license...that was such a pain to get believe me. If you thought the DMV was bad over there....haha don't even try it here. So I first tried getting it in Alaminos on Friday spent 4 hours...then I had a problem because on my passport there is no Lonell...but on my license there is....WHAT IS MY REAL NAME?!? I'M SO CONFUSED WHOOOO AM I!. But then we got here to Mindoro after riding a bus forever...I talked to the Branch President here...He's such a wonderful guy and he said "Don't worry about it...money pays" haha So basically today he came over at 8:00am picked me up...drove me all around the island today, to attorneys, to DMV or here its NTO National Travel Office, and waited with me outside for over 6 hours...Then I finally got it. I texted Etcitty and they were hanging out in the City mart...and then they said..Okay lets go to Pinalayan. Which is a town 2 hours way. So I just got my license then went driving for 2 hours and now we are here...we had to take the elders home...I'm so exhausted! And then tomorrow we leave the Island (Elder Etcitty and I) because we have Zone Leader Council and a meeting with the Presiding Bishopric of the Church so I'm pretty stoked for that...but we wont be back till LATE friday night. Then next week we have a training meeting and then a Zone Con...my head is spinning...but I am so incredibly happy with my new area. It's so beautiful! The town is amazing...we are definately going to come visit when you guys get here....oh yeah and theres Puerto Guerara the Beach Resort! In the Zone here....Elder Perry (Arizona) and Elder Lopez Hawaii) are both my batch so I've know them from the MTC...I've been so blessed to be here. It's so nice driving DONT WORRY MOM i'LL BE GOOD! I PROMISED PRESIDENT.

So now I want to tell you about Ludi Saldo. She was in my last area. She has thus far been one of the greatest people I've met here. She is basically my Nanay (mom) here. A few months ago when I was still in Calaca Batangas. I talked to Elder Lopez when we went to Manila he told me that I should definately go visit her. When I talked to my companion at the time Elder Painagan he told me it wasn't a good idea she wasn't progressing. But we went anyways...I taught her for a bout 4 1/2 months. She had so many problems, there really was moments in time where I thought she had NO CHANCE to join the church. But i kept persuing and teaching her. Then I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life from her. Although her progression was slow, she had a live in partner, she did some really bad things in the past that cast a huge shadow on her hope of becoming a member..she continued on. She eventually was baptized...she was my only baptism last transfer. I cannot tell you the change that happened to her. The joy that entered her life. The change I saw in her. the humility that was radiating from her. She became as the Savior says like a child. She realized how important God's commandments are....you aren't saved by lip service or saying you believe, you aren't saved by just going to church on sunday and then living after the manner of the flesh during the week. One of my favorite things ever written is in the scriptures is the teaching in the 22nd chapter of Matthew

Basically a guy comes up to Jesus and says this whats the greatest commandment?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt alove the Lord thy God with all thy bheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy cmind.

38 This is the first and great acommandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt alove thy neighbour as thyself.

I'm really learning out here how much I need the Lord...how incredibly week I am. But anyways back to Ludi. Although it took her a long time to gain faith enough to act....she acted. She decided to read, to go to church, to cut out the things in her life that weren't allowing her to feel the Spirit of the Lord...she DID something. I'm so grateful for her example to me. It was so sad saying good bye to her. She was absolutely bawling...and I just tried to get away as fast as I could because I didn't want to start crying. I've learned to love this country, these people, and the Lord more than I could ever imagine.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is simple enough, when we realize our true potential and where we came from....we can learn how to love our Heavenly Father even more. Because we are his literal children. I'm so grateful for that knowledge I have...that whatever problem I am facing, whenever I think there's no hope, when I am alone...I am never alone, there is always hope, and every problem can be solved. I'm not one of strong faith, but because of my obedience the Lord has proved himself to me time and time again.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

and this is the hardest for me. But I'm praying everynight for Charity and love for these people. I've been really learning how to humble myself here in the mission...I'm still really prideful and impatient but I am so glad that I've learned how to love people here. All the experience I've had here I wouldn't trade for anything in the world...I feel like a completely new person...I'm still Josh Gonzalez...just a WAY better Josh Gonzalez...I sucked back in the day, Selfish, self-centered, arrogant, immature...and I'm happy to say I still am...why am I happy? Because I can still improve and I need to!

So holy cow, I got your boxes the other day! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! it was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot thank you enough! and the Book you sent is one of the best books I've ever read! You're the GREATEST FAMILY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. I would willingly give anything for you all...Zach you need another foot? I'm here. Mom a liver? you dont have to ask. Thank you for everything. Please don't think I am neglecting you because my emails are short. I am so incredibly busy...yeah I have time to email...but now I have a cell phone and its constantly going off with questions or concerns or yata yata and then I have to go here and pick up this or that, then all these meetings.... on top of working with everyone in the zone I have to work in my own area! I am so excited to be here and I'm grateful president trusts me to put me here...it's just hectic and I still don't know what i'm doing but I am just doing my best...I know the Lord will take care of the rest. Once I finish this email, I'm gonna walk to the apartment and pass out...that's after I read scriptures...because I had NO TIME to read them today :(. And I know all the things I just said are excuses..and my emails will change just be patient with me...I know how it must make you feel to have such short and crappy emails...sorry I have NO TIME!

Regardless, I love you with all my heart! Mom I hope your still reading Our Search For Happiness..When I heard you were I picked it up and read like 30 pages. I love you guys so much I'm just sorry I'm exhausted...but I am so happy here! Thank you all very much for this experience you've ipinakalooban sa akin or given me. haha I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We just watched General Conference here:

on of my favortie quotes from President Monson was...

"How Could I Not?"

It's amazing!


I love you guys so much!



Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

dangit i tried to email pictures but it failed! but this weeeeek has beeen so good to me

I'm leaving Calaca and it makes me so sad. I love the people here and yeaaah this sucks...but i'm excited for a change of things...I've seem to forgotten the feeling of change...I've gotten too comfortable I need to be pushed and uncomfortable again!

Sorry don't got much to say I'll let you know the update with my new area on monday! Keep reading and praying for me!


These last few days have been productive but sad. Sad because I've grown so very close to the members over these past 3 transfers, but I am ready for a new area and new experience. Yesterday was one of the best Sundays of my mission. We had the opportunity to take the sacrament to a member who isn't able to go to church because of his illness so we sat in the man's living room and had sacrament there. I felt the spirit so strong, and I thought to myself...this Church is so true..It doesn't matter where, or how many members are present the Lord loves his saints where ever they maybe gathered. After that we returned to the Church and had a P.E.C. meeting. In the meeting, President Ambao thanked me for all the service I've rendered here and said it was much appreciated and noticed. and It was the first time anyone from a ward/branch has told me thank you for the work and that they are excited for when I return and sad that I am leaving. It was an interesting experience it made me feel grateful for the wakeup call you gave Elder Painagan and I 2 transfers ago. President I love the members and investigators that I've met and taught here..It hurts that I am leaving, but I know I need to trust in the Lord more. I feel lately my faith is weak, I need to continue calling on the Lord for him to lift me higher, but I am happy to report that my reading the scriptures everyday hasn't stopped I'm still on top of that. I just need to improve myself and become a better missionary! But I still have hope. I've come to learn here the power of the atonement and I can only thank you and the spirit for that, you've silently taught me a lesson I will never been able to forget and you had no idea you were teaching me. Thank you President for all that you do. I know that being a Mission President is probably the most demanding calling you've ever had. I think being a missionary is but it doesn't compare to what you have on your plate. I'm here for you Pres and I'm going to keep trying my best.

On Sun, Oct 3, 2010 at 7:51 PM, Debbie Hicks